10 Expert Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe While Camping
Nature-lovers, it’s time to grab those sleeping bags because camping season is here! We’re ready for the hikes, campfires and s’mores. But before you go, for all the campers who bring along their furry friends, we have a few pet safety tips from our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) to make this your best camping trip yet! Read our top 10 tips below and always remember to plan ahead.
- Photos and Medical Records. A recent photo and basic medical records for your pet, including the date of their last vaccines and any medications they may be on, is a good idea to have on hand. If your pet gets lost or needs to be seen by a veterinarian, having some basic information can be critical. Additionally, locating the closet emergency clinic from your campsite and adding their contact information to your phone can be lifesaving.
- Identification. A reflective pet collar with an ID tag is a simple and great way to make sure your pet can be identified if they accidentally get away from you. Microchips are also a good idea as shelters and veterinary clinics routinely check for them and they cannot accidentally fall off your pet.
- First Aid Kit. A pet first aid kit can come in handy in case of any bug bites, minor injuries or if your pet gets sprayed by a skunk.
- The Essentials. Make sure to bring along enough fresh water, food and any medications your pet takes on a regular basis. Do not encourage your pet drinking from foreign bodies of water as toxins like blue-green algae can be seen in the summer months. Also, if you are traveling far from home, check to see if heartworm control is recommended if your pet is not currently on it.
- Flea and Tick Control. Fleas and ticks are no fun and can transmit diseases to your pets. Make sure to have your pet protected before heading out and know the signs and symptoms of a flea or tick bite. Always check your pet thoroughly for ticks after spending time outdoors.
- Weather. Is it going to rain? Will it be very hot? Consider how your pet will handle the weather if they are not used to spending extended time outdoors. Also, don’t forget that thunder and lightning can be very scary for some pets, and they may be more apt to run away. Come prepared to weather the storm with a rain jacket for your pup or an umbrella to share between the both of you. If it’s going to be hot, identify a shady location where you can take regular breaks with adequate amounts of water.
- New Environment. Consider how your pet will do in a novel environment. While campers will generally expect some barking at the campsite, excessive barking can be frustrating to others. Does your pet scare easily? How does your pet handle meeting lots of new people or being around other dogs they’re not typically around? Remember, this is your pet’s vacation, too. If they don’t enjoy the company of others, make sure they have a safe place to hang out while you socialize. Providing your pet with their favorite toy, chew and a blanket or bed from home can keep them entertained and feeling safe.
- Pet Proof! Before you let your pet out on your campsite, thoroughly inspect the area to make sure other campers have not left anything behind. Being familiar with any common toxic plants can help you identify areas to keep your pet away from. Also be sure to always clean up after your pet when you’re exploring new areas!
- Don’t let your pet roam. Because your pet is not familiar with the area, they could get lost, fall into a river or become stuck. Other well-meaning campers may feed them something they’re not used to or may have rat poison out in their campsite. They could also have a run in with some not-so-well-meaning wildlife, so it’s important to always keep an eye on your four-legged friend and keep them on leash and close to you.
- Have Fun! Camping can be a great bonding experience with your pet, so make sure you enjoy your time together!
If you suspect that your pet ingested something potentially toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.